California Focus columnist Thomas Elias has won the top prize for commentary carried in large newspapers in the annual competition of the Los Angeles Press Club.
It was the second straight year the Elias column, which runs weekly in The Madera Tribune, took first place in the contest, which attracted more than 500 entries.
The column has won major commentary awards in eight of the last nine years. The Press Club awards were presented late Sunday in downtown Los Angeles.
“Elias is not afraid to express his opinions and he has the reporting chops to support them with facts,” the judges said. “He provides a significant service to his readers.”
Among columns singled out by the judges were those that exposed irregularities in the awarding of tens of millions of dollars worth of government grants for building “hydrogen highway” refueling stations, reports that led the state to revoke $28 million in previously awarded grants of taxpayer funds.
Elias is vice president of the board of directors of Madera Printing and Publishing Co., which owns The Madera Tribune.
He writes from Santa Monica, where he and his wife, journalist Marilyn Elias, also live.